Obama Campaign Research and Tracking

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This article talked about the Obama campaign and its technological tactics during the last campaign. Through their own research, using mobile apps and social media, the campaign was able to target the right voters and send direct and focused messages in the most effective way. The article speaks to the problems the Obama group faced during the course of the campaign and the use of social media research and tracking to ensure the most effective use of resources. It was interesting to me that through social media tracking the campaign was able to target users on an individual basis. Our guest speaker, Andrew Danielson, spoke to the idea that everything can be tracked and through cookies and other data mining software. I think it is great that the Obama people were able to harness this data to micro target users and get the most effective messages out the the correct people who would likely respond or send on the information.
The implications for future research and tracking of this magnitude are unimaginable. Already, there are supercomputers across the country with over 150 "things" about each of us. From simple demographics to in-depth, creepy psychographic information. This is vastly valuable to a researcher who can use this data to do what the Obama campaign did and micro target the audiences they want. For now, this is expensive and time consuming but I would be that within the next 5-10 years that this information becomes easy to aggregate, less cost prohibitive and even more relevant to what researchers and marketers are looking for. As for opting in or out of these tracking studies...too bad, if your on the internet, you should know you are being tracked and monitored, its just a fact of life.

Source: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-11-21/corporations-want-obamas-winning-formula#r=auth-s

App Feedback

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I recently got an iPad and have been downloading all of the typical social media apps. Facebook, Twitter etc. Today, when I opened Pinterest a link popped up asking me to rate the app. So I did. I love Pinterest so of course I gave the app 5 stars but it made me wonder why now? Why are they just asking me what I think about it now? I was on Pinterest for about an hour last night, I wonder if that triggered the system to ask me due to my increase in usage? Anyway, thought this was a great way to gain user feedback about an application. By asking me what I think about the app just as I open it, its not interrupting my experience but its also clearly catching me before I get sucked into the holiday decorations and pretty nail polish ideas.
I think there is a lot of value in these ratings because it is polling only those with the app, presumably those who enjoy Pinterest and use it on a regular basis. I was funneled to the App Store and saw that over 47,000 people had rated the app at 5 stars too! Wow! Clearly, asking me to rate this app is common practice. I have never seen an app with that many ratings besides Facebook or Twitter. For being a smaller and more niche social media site Pinterest is increasing its feedback exponentially. They know what they are doing. I think that the Pinterest setup is novel which is one thing that draws users in. A very unique social media site may require a little more time to gain popularity but clearly once it catches on, these can be enormously successful.

Spoof Research

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I found an article on spoof.com headlined "Girls Who Wear Glasses Never Get Passes Says New Study". Clearly this is a spoof article and completely made up but I was intrigued by the title. Upon reading the extremely short article it essentially said that the old addage, girls who wear glasses never get passes is true.
The fake study was longitudinal in that it followed 50 sophomore girls for two years and none ever received a "pass". There was not a control group, instead, all the girls were given types of glasses to wear all over their body. Drinking glasses, eye glasses and magnifying glasses etc. These girls were simply instructed to wear these assorted glasses and go take a class pass/fail. They all failed. What a strange fake study! As a girl who wears glasses, and passes classes I can testify to the untruthfulness of this statement!!

Source: http://www.thespoof.com/news/us/111067/girls-who-wear-glasses-never-get-passes-says-new-study-

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research

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I found a great youtube video that used a comic strip to help explain qualitative and quantitative data. Its informative, engaging and funny.

Source: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vmulkCjHqqw -

New Research Techniques

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I found an article about new research techniques for improving navigation around websites. This talked about three new techniques to monitor and determine how effective placement is working within a site.
The first tool was called an unmoderated test. This is used to produce large amounts of quantitative data about success rates and speed of use from a large population. This approach may help to get a lot of information fast but I think it could limit the type of people visiting a newer site. This also could be very beneficial for modifying a new site before traffic picks up and people get too used to the first stage/format of the site.
The second technique was called a moderated test. This is more like a focus group over the internet using screen share technology and sometimes mockups of potential page designs to measure the same thing as unmoderated. I think this would be a more effective tool because feedback from people off the bat immediately after seeing the screen could prove to be much more helpful when modifying the design and setup of a webpage.
Finally is a blended approach that provides a lit bit of both. I think this is probably the best approach because it blends qualitative and quantitative data to give a complete picture of what is working and not working on a website.

Source: http://www.neoinsight.com/newsletter/1101.html-

Ad Analysis

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I found two ads that I thought were interesting and demonstrated a good marketing tactic that probably was effective. The first ad is a reference to the classic movie, Free Willy. It is the image from the cover of the movie case and the climax of the film. The connection conveyed here is to escape reality, much like in the movie Free Willy. The iconic image, marred by the violence of the whale eating the man, changes the theme a little bit but it still maintains the feel of the original scene.
The second image is from the movie Titanic. Again, this iconic image resonates as a climax from the film, marred by an almost violent seagull attack. The tagline "Reality Sucks" plays off the fact that these nearly perfect movies, where everything works out is not reality and that life is not perfect. The ad appears to say, "Escape reality and come see movies!"
I think this ad is effective because people are so cynical about movies and how perfect they make life appear. People know its not reality and view it as more of a play off of that notion.

Note: The images would not paste into this field so click the link to view them! Thanks.

Source: http://adsoftheworld.com/media/print/utopolis_group_of_cinemas_titanic?size=_original

Consumer Tracking

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I found a study on Greenbook about real-time consumer tracking, their decision making and how that influences business decisions. Continuous experience tracking of carbonates was used to determine the touch-points. This strategy was employed by Britvic/Pepsi regarding carbonates (carbonated beverages). The biggest touch points were consumption, off trade and on trade in traditional outlets like tv. Consumption appeal was not being used enough in communications and retailer mailings were proving to be exceptionally effective. I found it interesting that direct retailer mailings were more effective but I can also see why. There are many more ads for carbonated drinks in retail mailers and newspaper inserts that on the tv. The fact that these mailers also include other coupons and ads to be used in the store is probably a much better way to get people to purchase the product since its in the front of their mind when they are in the store. This research suggests that these mailers are the most effective way to reach the audience they are looking for and will get the best response for the company.

Source: http://www.greenbook.org/marketing-research.cfm/tracking-multichannel-real-time-customer-experience-40697-

Baby Boomers to Millennials - Grocery Shopping Trends

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An article in Greenbook talked to how a shift from Baby Boomers to Millennials and new technology are changing how we grocery shop. By 2020 Millennials will make up 20% of the populations, surpassing boomers and becoming the largest demographic group. The changes this will bring to the market are numerous according to this article. First, with more money to spend, Millennials will be entering into the high spending times of their lives with children and household expenses being very high. Additionally, Millennials are less brand loyal and flexible in their purchases; only 47% of Millennials rate brand name an important factor during a purchase decision as opposed to 61% of Boomers. Millennials also only spend 41% of their money on groceries as opposed to 50% for Boomers. These indications suggest grocery chains may see a drop in patrons during this shift.
On another note, technology is causing the fragmentation of the grocery shopping experience and food decisions. Millennials continue to opt-out of brick and mortar shopping experiences and instead shop online. All of this information suggests that the next 8 years will see a big change in the grocery business and how consumers are reached. If I were a researcher I would begin by determining the most effective way of reaching these new consumers and how to draw them to stores, or how to increase my online presence so as to grab the online purchases. By testing out strategies like e-blasts, social media ads and outreach one would get a better idea of how to gain more of a following and increase the brand loyalty that is lacking in this particular demographic. I believe that focus groups and longitudinal studies among Millennials would be able to provide this information in the most valid and effective way. By performing these interviews it would provide more in-depth information about the group, its like, dislikes and product preferences.
Based on this information the industry could begin to implement some of the changes that they believe would help to draw the Millennial crowd before 2020 and thus measure the success or failure and make changes before the change is made completely. By doing this preemptively it may keep the hit from being so hard and prevent long-term financial loss for the grocery industry.

Source: http://www.greenbook.org/marketing-research.cfm/changes-in-grocery-shopping-patterns-driven-by-demos-and-technology-11906-

2013 Research Predictions

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I was able to find an article about research predictions for 2013. It contained a list of links each with more information about the particular trend they are expecting. My favorite was about conducting valid research via mobile and social media. This is something that really interests me because my internship is about using social media to drum up more support for the company and increase visibility in general.
The respondent talked about how 40-50% of social media users will access their social media outlet through am mobile device so it is important to have diagnostic programs available to monitor this use and record any data that may be helpful. I really appreciated her mentioning response bias. When tracking via social media there are a lot of opportunities for response bias. She specifically said that, "Social media sample should be blended with other sources to control for response bias. But if we are talking about projects where the use of mobile devices is going to be the norm AND utilize social media as the recruitment or invitation mode, then more than likely the research will be taking place at a point of purchase or consumption. Using social media as the sole sample source -- unless you are targeting customers or have a very controlled audience -- is probably going to provide results skewed toward specific demographic and behavioral audiences".
These points resonated with me because of the applicability and relevance of it especially now with the continued use and popularity of social media. As our guest lecturer discussed, there are not a lot of programs available yet to analyze what is going on on social media. It is a very complex environment and I am curious to see what technology will be developed in the next year in order to more effectively analyze this data that is being continuously collected.

Source: http://www.greenbookblog.org/2012/11/27/predictions-for-2013-part-2-leslie-townsend-simon-chadwick-lenny-murphy/-

Point of Sale Research

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Greenbook featured an article on point of sale (POS) research and the most effective tool found to measure it. This research was performed by a German research company called Bormann & Gordon. This company focuses on POS research. This particular survey was commissioned by a beer brewing company to evaluate the effectiveness of its products placement at the POS. By measuring the quality and long term performance of this location the beer brewer could determine if this was the most effective way to market the product and provided the largest return. A mobile app was used to aggregate the data collected. Researchers found this useful because of its ease of use by both the consumer and researchers. In addition, plausibility checks were consistently performed on the data to avoid misunderstandings. The flexibility of control and embedded photos made this app very appealing to the firm and its client.
I found this article to be less than convincing when reading about the methodology. Mobile testing may work for some people but it has the potential to leave out a large segment of the market due to a lack of a smartphone or other enabled mobile device. In addition, I am not sure that reaching an audience through a mobile device provides the best information about POS. I believe it would be more effective to gather data directly at the site and measure how many sales of beer were made at the register on a specific day as a control and then strategically move the product to other place that may or may not be as effective at selling. The "quick turnover" also suggests that a pre- and post-test were not performed which would also improve the validity of this survey. Overall, I think this was not a reliable survey due to all of these problems.

Source: http://www.greenbook.org/marketing-research.cfm/case-study-point-of-sale-survey-40748-